Friday, 9 December 2016

Reindeer Cupcakes

These sweet little faces are almost too cute to eat. A carrot cupcake topped with cute decorations to make a festive party treat!
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

My Christmas baking is running a little behind due to the celebrating starting early. Hangovers make baking seem like a mammoth task...or a reindeer task? But Christmas is important and Santa waits for no one.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

And these are cute as hell. You know I can't stop saying "as hell". I finish every sentence where I want to be emphatic with it. "That's rude as hell!", "That's pretty as hell!",  "I'm confused as hell!" And my favourite, "That's DUMB as HELL!" Try it. You won't be able to stop.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

But do you know what, these are as cute as hell. Of course they're perfect for Christmas but...okay I can't think of any other time of year they'd suit. But that doesn't mean they're any less cute! Perhaps somehow they could be made in to bunnies for Easter. Bunnies like carrots too.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

So anyway. These darling little cupcakes are carrot cupcakes! Do you know why? Cos what do you leave out for Santa and his reindeer? Carrots, that's what! How twee is that! Carrot cupcakes with reindeer faces! Cute central. If you put 'cute central' into Google Maps, your address will come up with these guys in your kitchen.

Here are some step by step photos for the fondant work.

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes
Select a round cutter a little larger than your cupcake.
Knead together white and pre-coloured brown fondant to make a darker shade and lighter shade of brown. Keep the fondant tightly wrapped when not working with the fondant.
Ice the cupcake with buttercream to a slightly domed shape.
Cut a round of darker brown fondant.

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes
Lightly press the large over the buttercream.
Using the back of a piping tip, cut a smaller circle from the lighter brown fondant and attach to the darker brown with a tiny dab of buttercream.
Lightly press the edge of the piping tip in to the light brown circle to make the mouth of the deer.
Attach a dark brown M&M to the light brown circle to make the nose of the deer, then add the premade eyes.

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

There is a bit of fondant work with this but it's basically the easiest fondant use ever. Rolling and cutting circles. You'll need two shades of brown for these cupcakes. I purchased pre-coloured brown fondant the colour I wanted to the head of the reindeer to be and then I created the lighter brown by rolling some white fondant in to a bit of the darker fondant. This was easier than buying only white and colouring it. Less mess, less fuss and more consistent results.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

I used my old standby cupcake recipe and altered it a bit by adding carrots, vegetable oil and some pulverized walnuts. A lot of carrot cupcake recipes out in the great big world seemed more like muffins. They were dense and didn't have the height of a light and fluffy traditional cupcake. Being the Dr. Frankenstein that I am, I simply altered a vanilla cupcake. And it worked.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

The reindeer also have cute little eye which I made by piping royal icing. I can't tell you how sick of piping icing I was by the end of this, this made far more than I needed. However, once the discs are well dried, you can store them in an airtight container for other projects. To create the pupils, I dotted the discs with a food safe pen. I purchased a specific food pen for this but since making them, I've read that you can use a non-toxic pen purchased from the supermarket, the type kids use for their colouring books.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Finally, you will just need to pipe the antlers with some melted chocolate. You can use this template or freestyle it if you've got a steady hand. Make sure you pipe the base of the antlers nice and thick, I found the thinner ones broke easily. To make the chocolate antlers easier to use, make sure they're cold from the fridge and use a small knife to make an incision in the fondant first, then stick the chocolate antlers in.
Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Also, cos it's Christmas, enjoy these photos of my own little reindeer.

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Cupcakes Cassie Cakes

Reindeer Face Carrot Cupcakes
*Royal icing eyes need time to set so make at least 24 hours in advance. Royal icing eyes can be made well in advance and kept in an airtight container once completely dried.

Prep time: 60 mins, not including drying time

Cooking time: 20 mins

Total time:  1 hr and 20 mins
Servings: 18 cupcakes

Royal Icing Eyes

2 egg whites

1 1/3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted

Black food safe pen
  1. Combine the egg white and sugar in a medium bowl and beat on medium speed for 4-5 minutes, scraping down sides as necessary.
  2. Beat til icing is a thick but pipeable consistency, like molten lava. Add water if the icing is too thick or more sifted icing sugar if too thin
  3. Add the frosting to a piping bag with a small round tip
  4. Lay a large piece of baking paper on to a baking sheet and pipe small circles to make an eye shape.
  5. Allow to dry at room temperature for at least 24 hours before removing from baking sheet. Once dry, dot each eye with the black pen to make an pupil.
Chocolate Antlers
150g chocolate melts

  1. Print out the template and place on a baking sheet. Lay a piece of baking paper over the top.
  2. Melt the chocolate in 30 second intervals until completely melted.
  3. Add melted chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a fine piping tip and pipe antlers on to baking paper, following pattern as on the template. Use a skewer or toothpick to move chocolate in to the gaps as required.
  4. Allow to dry and chill in fridge.

Carrot Cupcakes
110g softened butter
230g caster sugar
2 eggs, free range
150g plain cake flour
125g self-raising cake flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 freshly grated nutmeg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk
1 cup freshly grated carrots
125g crumbled walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C and line a 12-hole cupcake tin.
  2. Beat the sugar and butter together until lighter in colour.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  4. Sift the flours into one bowl and stir the cinnamon and nutmeg into the flour.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and vegetable oil into the milk.
  6. Add to the creamed mixture alternately with the milk, in three lots, starting and finishing with the flour.
  7. Gently fold the grated carrot and walnuts into the batter until combined.
  8. Fill each cupcake liner two-thirds full, or about 50g on scales.
  9. Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, leave in the tin for 5 minutes then turn on to a rack to cool. 
Vanilla Buttercream

1 cup butter, at room temperature

2 cups icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons milk

  1. Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as required.
  2. Reduce the speed to low and gradually add the icing sugar. Once all of the sugar is incorporated, increase the speed to medium-high and add the vanilla and milk, mixing until incorporated. Whip at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed.

Pre-coloured brown and white fondant
Colours will vary, use as much fondant as required.
Brown and red M&M's
  1. Ice each cupcake with vanilla buttercream and set aside.
  2. Dust a rolling mat or benchtop with icing sugar.
  3. Knead white fondant into pre-coloured brown fondant to create a dark brown colour for the reindeers face.
  4. Using a little more white fondant, make a lighter brown colour for the reindeers muzzle.
  5. Dust more icing sugar onto bench as required and roll out the dark brown fondant.
  6. Use a circle cutter to cut a circle at a time. Cover remaining fondant with plastic wrap when not in use.
  7. Gently work the circle on to a cupcake. Repeat until all cupcakes have fondant applied.
  8. Roll out the lighter brown colour and use the larger end of a piping tip to cut smaller circles.
  9. Use a dab of buttercream to attach the lighter brown circle to the face of the reindeer, then use the piping tip to lightly indent a mouth into the lighter brown circle. Repeat for all cupcakes.
  10. Using a tiny dab of buttercream, attach an M&M to each reindeers face and a pair of royal icing eyes.
  11. Finally, push a pair of chocolate antlers into each of the cupcakes.

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